Writing Short Constructed Responses | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G3:M1:U1:L10

Writing Short Constructed Responses

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RL.3.2: Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • RL.3.3: Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
  • W.3.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.3.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  • L.3.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • L.3.2e: Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
  • L.3.2f: Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
  • L.3.2g: Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can write a short constructed response to describe the central message or lesson in Nasreen's Secret School and how it is conveyed through details in the text. (RL.3.2, RL.3.3, W.3.2, W.3.5, L.3.2e, L.3.2f, L.3.2g)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School (RL.3.2, W.3.2)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Recounting the Story: Nasreen's Secret School (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Writing Short Constructed Responses to Answer Questions: Nasreen's Secret School (15 minutes)

B. Mini Lesson: Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Peer Critique: Short Constructed Responses (20 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students write a short constructed response identifying the central message or lesson in Nasreen's Secret School and explaining how it is conveyed through details in the text (RL.3.2, W.3.2). This prepares them for the End of Unit 1 Assessment in the next lesson, in which they will answer short constructed response questions about a new text.
  • In Work Time B, students participate in a mini lesson on spelling, capitalization, and punctuation before participating in a peer review to check their peers' writing for proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (L.3.2e, L.3.2f, L.3.2g). This mini lesson does not go into detail; rather, the aim is to capture what students already know rather than to teach them anything new. The Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout is referred to both throughout this module and the school year. They then use this to peer-critique (W.3.5).
  • The peer critique that students participate in is the first of many. Consider any additional guidelines you would like to establish for this routine, as it will be returned to throughout the year. The Peer Critique anchor chart created in this lesson will be referred to both throughout the module and the school year.
  • Continue to reinforce the habits of character introduced throughout the unit, particularly as students may be sensitive to the content of this story, and also as they provide peer feedback.
  • Continue to use Goal 1 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.
  • The research reading that students complete for homework will help build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to overcoming challenges in access to education, books, and reading near and far. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.

How it builds on previous work:

  • In this lesson, students refer to their Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Nasreen's Secret School from Lesson 8 and their Close Read Note-catcher: Nasreen's Secret School from Lesson 9 to write a short constructed response about the lesson/message and how it is conveyed through details in the text.

Areas where students may need additional support:

  • Some students may need additional support writing short constructed responses. Consider using technology to support those students. See Technology and Multimedia.
  • Some students may need additional support providing peer feedback. Consider grouping these students together to provide them with carefully guided instruction in doing so.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students' short constructed responses to determine how much more guidance they need on writing short constructed responses before the end of unit assessment in the next lesson.
  • For ELLs: Collect Language Dive: Part II Practice homework from Lesson 9 for assessment.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will read a new narrative text for the end of unit assessment and answer questions about it. They will also write a short constructed response about the lesson or message and how it is conveyed through details in the text.

In Advance

  • Preview the Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout to familiarize yourself with how to guide students as you review this handout with the whole group (see supporting materials).
  • Preview and post the Peer Critique anchor chart to familiarize yourself with how to guide students as you create this chart with the whole group (see supporting materials).
  • Review the Think-Pair-Share protocol. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Post: Learning target, Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart, and Writing Short Constructed Responses anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: Students use speech-to-text facilities activated on devices or use an app or software like Dictation.io to write their short constructed responses.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.B.6, 3.I.B.7, 3.I.C.10, 3.I.C.11, 3.II.A.1

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to celebrate cultural and educational diversity, explore the value and norms of peer critique in a U.S. classroom, and review and practice responding to the type of question that will appear on the End of Unit 1 Assessment.
  • ELLs may find peer critique culturally and linguistically challenging. They may come from a personal or cultural background that values the teacher giving feedback and critique, not another student. Make space for students to share any hesitation they have, as well as to investigate why many U.S. classrooms value feedback from peers. From a language perspective, students may have to work first to understand another student's writing before they can adequately critique. Allow students to use Goal 1 Conversation Cues to ask questions about the meaning of each other's short constructed response before they dive into feedback. (Example: "So, do you mean _____?" "Can you say more about this phrase?")

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Invite highly proficient students to create sentence frames for the short constructed response that will help those who need heavier support. Likewise, invite highly proficient students to circle some spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors for students who need heavier support.
  • Encourage students to deepen their thinking. (Example: "What other details could the author have provided to convey Nasreen's challenge? Which details do you feel are more effective at conveying the challenge: your details or the author's? Why? I'll give you a minute to think and write or sketch." "Can you say more about that? I'll give you a minute to think and write or sketch.") 

For heavier support:

  • Focus on helping students understand the meaning of the Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School, limiting the time spent on spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Consider limiting the number of criteria on the Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout, inviting students to focus on capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and a period at the end, for example.
  • In preparation for the End of Unit 1 Assessment, invite students to code each part of the question and their short constructed response in corresponding colors: green underline for the lesson or message, red underline for how the lesson was conveyed, and blue underline for the details that conveyed the lesson.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation: As students prepare to construct a written response, some may need additional support breaking down the question. Consider varied methods for representing the different parts of the question that students will be expected to respond to (e.g., create an anchor chart with columns for each part of the question, use different colors to color-code them).
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Depending on the strategy that you employ (e.g., columns, color-coding) when teaching how to write a constructed response, make sure to match the options for student expression. (Examples: If you represented the information in an anchor chart with columns, provide a graphic organizer that is organized in the same way. If you used color-coding, allow students to used colored pencils when constructing their response.) This will help students generalize strategies across multiple questions.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement: As students revise their writing, they will have to build self-determination and executive functioning skills to independently managing their own learning. Provide supports such as a revision checklist that includes spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. You may also add addition/alternative revision checklist items depending on the individual goals of the student. As students complete their revisions, have them check them off on the checklist. 

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • peer critique, peer review (L)

Materials

  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2)
  • Nasreen's Secret School (book; from Lesson 8; one per student)
  • Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Nasreen's Secret School (from Lesson 8; one per student)
  • Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School (one per student and one to display)
  • Close Read Note-catcher: Nasreen's Secret School (from Lesson 9; one per student)
  • Writing Short Constructed Responses anchor chart (begun in Lesson 6)
  • Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School (example, for teacher reference)
  • Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique (one per student and one to display)
  • Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique (example, for teacher reference)
  • Equity sticks (class set; one per student)
  • Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout (one per student and one to display)
  • Peer Critique anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Closing and Assessment A)
  • Peer Critique anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Red, yellow, and green objects (one of each per student)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Recounting the Story: Nasreen's Secret School (5 minutes)

  • Pair students and invite them to label themselves A and B.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and remind them specifically of respect, empathy, and compassion. Remind students that sometimes people make connections between stories and things from their own lives or stories they have heard from their families and that this can be upsetting, so they need to remember to practice respect, empathy, and compassion.
  • Invite students to retrieve their copy of Nasreen's Secret School and their Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Nasreen's Secret School.
  • Explain that students are going to retell the story to their partner using their note-catcher. Give students 2 minutes to read over their book and note-catcher and to think silently. Allocate partner B 1 minute to retell the story to partner A. Then allocate the same amount of time to partner A.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with expressive language/memory: Provide a list of key words for heavier support in retelling Nasreen's Secret School. Students can use the list as a prompt as they recount. Alternatively, select key illustrations from the text and invite students to use the illustrations as a guide to recount the story. (MMAE)

B. Reviewing Learning Target (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning target and select a volunteer to read it aloud:

"I can write a short constructed response to describe the central message or lesson in Nasreen's Secret School and how it is conveyed through details in the text."

  • Point out that this learning target is familiar and something they practiced in Lesson 6 with Rain School.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with memory: Invite students to refer to their copy of Reading for Gist and Recounting the Story: Rain School and recall the constructed response for Rain School. This will help students to generalize learning across multiple lessons. (MMAE)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Writing Short Constructed Responses to Answer Questions: Nasreen's Secret School (15 minutes)

  • Distribute and display Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School and focus students on the question at the top:

"In Nasreen's Secret School, what is the central message or lesson and how is it conveyed through details in the text?"

  • Invite students to retrieve their Close Read Note-catcher: Nasreen's Secret School.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share, leaving adequate time for each partner to think, ask the question to their partner, and partner share:

"Looking at your note-catcher, how might you answer this question in no more than three sentences?" (It teaches us that some people will take dangerous risks to go to school because learning is very important to them. The text conveys this by describing how Nasreen's grandmother takes her to a school that is secret because girls aren't allowed to go to school. It also explains how they hurried to the school because women and girls were forbidden from going outside alone, and it explains they were lucky that no soldiers saw them.)

  • If productive, prompt students to clarify their answer:

"So, do you mean _____?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Direct students' attention to the Writing Short Constructed Responses anchor chart and review the bullets.
  • Focus students back on the question and invite them to:

- Identify all of the components that will be expected in their answer.

- Underline each component: In Nasreen's Secret School, what is the central message or lesson and how is it conveyed through details in the text?

  • Ensure students understand that each part of the question will be required in their answer. Point to the S at the end of details and remind them that this tells them there needs to be more than one detail from the text.
  • Invite students to use their Close Read note-catchers to write their responses to this question on their short constructed response forms.
  • Circulate to support students in writing short constructed responses. Refer to the Short Constructed Response: Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School (example, for teacher reference) for guidance.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Give students time to think and verbally process their constructed response in pairs before writing. Encourage them to prompt one another with Goal 1 Conversation Cues. (Example: "Can you say more about that?") Time to verbally process in pairs is critical to acquiring both language and content knowledge. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: As students write their short constructed response, remind them that every English sentence they write should normally have a subject and a predicate.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Point out a useful sentence frame for beginning each key sentence of the short constructed response. Examples:

"Nasreen's Secret School teaches us that _____."

"The text conveys this by _____." (MMAE)

  • For ELLs: For lighter support, ask students to "think about their thinking" (metacognition). (Example: "How did you decide how to say the lesson or message in English? I'll give you some time to think and write or sketch.")
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: For heavier support, allow students to begin writing their constructed response by sketching their ideas. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Display a chart with three columns labeled with the parts of the question and response--lesson or message/how the lesson was conveyed/details that conveyed the lesson. As students discuss possible responses, complete the chart, ensuring that each column is filled for each possible response. (MMR)
  • If you used the anchor chart with the columns corresponding to the different question components in the previous portion of the lesson, consider providing a graphic organizer with three columns for students to fill in. This will help them generalize the strategy across multiple questions. (MMR, MMAE)
  • Minimize distractions during independent writing by providing tools such as sound-canceling headphones or individual dividers. (MME)
  • For students who may need additional support in building writing stamina: Consider offering built-in breaks, during which students can choose an activity such as getting water or stretching. Reduce the number of these breaks over time as students increase their stamina. (MME)

B. Mini Lesson: Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation (15 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique.
  • Invite students to follow along, reading silently in their heads as you read the model aloud.
  • Ask students to turn and talk, and cold call students to share their responses with the whole group:

"What do you notice about this writing?" (Responses will vary, but should include students pointing out specific spelling, punctuation, or capitalization errors or that there are a lot of errors.)

  • Tell students they are going to work with their partner to:

- Reread the model text.

- Identify the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors.

- Correct the errors on the rows below the writing.

  • Invite students to begin working.
  • Circulate to support students in rereading the text and identifying errors. Refer to the Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique (example, for teacher reference) for guidance.
  • Refocus whole group.
  • Using equity sticks, invite responses from the group:

"What spelling errors did you identify, and how did you correct them?"

  • Ask students to turn and talk, and cold call students to share their responses with the whole group:

"What strategies do you use when you are writing to spell words correctly?" (dictionary)

  • Display and distribute the Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout. As students share out, connect to the strategies under the heading Spelling.
  • Correct the errors on the displayed version of Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique. Refer to the Lesson/Message in Nasreen's Secret School: Model for Critique (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Repeat this process with punctuation and then capitalization.
  • For ELLs: Introduce the terms spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Invite students to add the words to their vocabulary log. Explain that these are features of English that help writers communicate clearly. For students who make myriad spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors, consider limiting the focus to errors that interfere with meaning, like word choice, transition language, or syntax.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Underline the errors for students who need heavier support, inviting them to try to correct the errors. Consider providing the correct answer and inviting students to figure out and explain why the answer is correct. (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Provide students with a personal checklist that includes spelling, capitalization, and punctuation and examples of how to make these revisions. Consider adding additional and/or alternative revision checklist items based on the individual goals of the student. The students can then check them off as they revise their work. This will help students to manage their own learning. (MME, MMAE)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Peer Critique: Short Constructed Responses (20 minutes)

  • Tell students they are going to continue working in pairs to help each other revise their short constructed responses about the lesson in Nasreen's Secret School. Explain that when they work together to review and critique work, this is called a peer review or a peer critique. Ensure students understand that a peer is someone else in the class.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share, leaving adequate time for each partner to think, ask the question to their partner, and partner share:

"What is the purpose of giving peer feedback? Why is it more effective than revising our own work alone?" (It helps someone else improve their work, and it is better than trying to do it on your own because sometimes you can't see your own mistakes and someone else can see them more clearly.)

  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by giving an example:

"Can you give an example?" (Responses will vary.)

  • Focus students on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and remind them specifically of respect and compassion. Remind students that the purpose of peer feedback is to help the other student improve his or her work, so when we provide feedback, we have to be careful to ensure we are respectful and compassionate.
  • Emphasize that peer critique is not about telling someone how bad his or her work is--it is about celebrating the good things about the work and helping to make it even better.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share, leaving adequate time for each partner to think, ask the question to their partner, and partner share:

"How can we effectively give peer feedback? What things should we think about and be aware of? What strategies can we use?" (Responses will vary.)

"What does this look like? What does this sound like?" (Responses will vary.)

  • As students share out, capture their responses on the Peer Critique anchor chart. Refer to the Peer Critique anchor chart (example, for teacher reference) for guidance.
  • Post and review the following:
  1. Read partner A's short constructed response aloud.
  2. Partner B uses the Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation handout to provide partner A with positive and constructive feedback.
  3. Partner A listens to and considers partner B's feedback and makes revisions.
  4. Switch roles.
  • Emphasize also that students should only revise their work when they agree with the peer critique. If they don't agree, they shouldn't do so, as we don't always have to take the advice we are given.
  • Answer clarifying questions.
  • Invite pairs to begin working.
  • Circulate to support students as they complete their peer critiques and make their revisions.
  • Distribute red, yellow, and green objects.
  • Tell students they are going to use the Red Light, Green Light protocol to show how close they are to meeting the learning targets. Remind them that they used this protocol in Lesson 2 and review what each color represents (red = stuck or not ready; yellow = needs support soon; green = ready) as necessary. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Focus students on each learning target and guide them through the Red Light, Green Light protocol, using the red, yellow, and green objects. Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they showed respect, empathy, and compassion.
  • For ELLs: Since peer critique can be cognitively demanding, consider pairing students by home language. If students are able to begin by using their home language to review the short constructed responses, they may be more confident in using English to talk about them later.
  • Provide differentiated mentors by purposefully pre-selecting student partnerships. Consider meeting with the mentors in advance to encourage them to share their thought processes with their partner. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Consider circulating as pairs work, underlining an error or two if students are struggling to identify errors. (MMR)

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who need additional support with writing: Discuss and respond to your prompt orally, either with a partner, family member, or student from grades 2 or 4, or record an audio response. Read the prompts aloud and brainstorm possible responses with your teacher. If you have trouble writing sentences, write words or make sketches in your responses, or your teacher can give you sentence starters. (MMAE)

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